Kaine won't quit for Obama
Today, at the University of Virginia, Governor Tim Kaine (D) put to rest any speculation that he would forgo his last year as governor in order to serve in Barack Obama's White House, should the Illinois senator be successful in his presidential bid.
"You're not going to see me leave," he told reporters, "I'll be Governor of Virginia through January of 2010. Maybe after I'm governor I'll be able to help him."
Since being the first governor outside of Illinois to endorse Obama in February 2007, pundits have bandied about Kaine's name as a possible vice presidential candidate to share the ticket with Obama, or the possibility that Obama would appoint the governor to his cabinet.
Kaine's longtime support of Obama was very much on the minds of Larry Sabato's Introduction to American Politics class when engaging him in a Q&A following his brief 15-minute lecture. Students pressed the governor on the issues where he differs from his presidential contender of choice such as partial birth abortion (Kaine supports outlawing it, Obama voted against such a ban), and the death penalty (Kaine opposes it, Obama supports it).
While acknowledging their differences of opinion, Kaine emphasized that their disagreement is exemplary of why he supports Obama's candidacy in the first place. "The strategy of Obama is finding common ground, and finding creative ways to make advances," he said. "On just about every major initiative of his in the Illinois state senate and in the U.S. Senate, he's had a Republican co-patron. He's a uniter by nature."
Kaine just returned from Pennsylvania, where he campaigned door to door for Obama in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. Asked about how Obama's recent comment about how small town Americans are "bitter" and "cling to guns and religion," Kaine said it seemed the issue was getting more plan in the media than on the ground. "Not one person brought it up," Kaine said. "Whether they support him or not, they know that this is a guy who knows what it's like to face tough straits."
Still, Kaine does not forecast an Obama victory in Pennsylvania tomorrow. "[Sen. Hillary Clinton] will probably win," he said, "but if we can finish within a single digit margin, that would be a positive outcome.